I tried to offer a recap of my conference yesterday, but my efforts fell far short. This is Take 2. Click here for Take 1.
This weekend’s trip marked my very first time to the West Coast. In fact, it was my first time travelling anywhere west of the Mississippi River. Yesterday I mentioned some unexpected treasures during my trip. The journey was definitely one of those.
I got to see the Grand Canyon.
AND the Pacific Ocean.
Meet Tim and Samantha Keller. You can learn more about them, their ministry and their writing at KellerDating.com.
They were so sweet! I had accosted nearly every conference attendee trying to find a local who had a car and would drive me to the ocean. I didn’t even need to visit it; I just wanted to see it and get a picture. A drive-by from the highway would have been sufficient, but my new friends wouldn’t allow that. They said I had to get my toes wet.
Did you know that California sand is different than East Coast sand? It has GLITTER in it! My toes sparkled all day. It was so cool.
Yesterday I mentioned meeting Paul Young, author of The Shack, Peter Strople, absolutely the most genuine man I have ever met in my life, and Joel Clark, an excellent storyteller with whom I would just love to be friends forever.
The photo below shows Paul on the far right. You can also see George Barna (yes, THE George Barna) sitting in the middle, Ken Blanchard (author of One-Minute Manager and dozens of other titles) to his right and Jim Henderson (the guy who bought the atheist’s soul) speaking into the mic.
Another highlight for me was meeting Mary DeMuth. She has been a writing mentor to me (completely unbeknownst to her) for the past few years. Mary possesses a wealth of wisdom and knowledge. I admire her so much.
While Mary no longer hosts a site for writers, you can still glean from her experience in her book 11 Secrets to Getting Published. I definitely recommend it. It’s a compilation of all that she wrote and advised during the years she actively mentored new writers.
In yesterday’s post I said that this conference was unlike any other I’ve attended. Let me explain.
Other conferences (at least the ones I’ve attended) have held an academic feel. This one didn’t. That’s not to say I didn’t learn a LOT. I did! But the tone was different. It was personal.
Other conferences offer lots of directions, rules and step-by-step this-is-how-you-do-it type classes. They focus on your career, your pragmatic (or less than) practices and your success, all with an assumption of spirituality. Bottom line: it’s a consumer’s game and this is how you sell what you write.
Re:Write definitely focused on branding, the future of publishing, the importance of platforms and all that industry stuff, but it was presented as a heart issue. Rather than learning how to write as a Christian, I learned how to live as a Christian writer. Every single one of the speakers was passionate about writing and publishing, but more passionate about God and authentic faith. Each session had an element of “church” in it. We didn’t spend a ton of time praying and there was no worship team or singing. We didn’t pull out our Bibles, but the overriding message was obvious, pure and simple:
God is life. If He’s given you a message, you have to share it. You have to live it. You have to believe it. Now, let’s figure out how to do that in this rapidly changing world that desperately needs Him.
If you are a Christian writer, please consider attending next year. It will be held in Austin, Texas. (Yay! Another adventure for me, this one much closer than Cali!)
Shortly before I left for San Diego, as we walked by the bookstore on our church campus, my 8-year-old asked if I wanted to go in. I admitted wanting to look for something, but suggested I’d do it later.
“You want to go see if they have your book displayed, right?”
She called my book by its working title, which caught me off-guard. “No, baby, they don’t have my book yet.”
“Oh, right. They won’t have your book until after you get back from San Diego.”
If only it were that easy.
A number of people have shared condolences with me about missed opportunities and lost contests. Honestly, I am so NOT disappointed. In fact, it’s the exact opposite. Sure, a book deal would be fabulous, but I don’t want to rush it and this conference far exceeded my expectations. It wasn’t what I hoped for; it was better.
As Peter Strople shared perpetually at the conference, life is about relationships. Publishing is no different.
I built relationships this weekend and I am richer because of it. Not only did I meet others and make connections, but God used them to impact me for Him. What more could I possibly want?
BONUS: My flight was delayed over two hours so the connecting continued at the airport. I simply cannot express how tremendously blessed I am. All because God is good and His grace has flooded my life.
Your Turn: Tell me about your weekend. I want to know what God is doing in YOUR life!